What to Expect on the PE Exam Day

Posted by Wasim Asghar on December 8th, 2021

The NCEES PE exam pertains to the principles and practices of engineering, and the exam is conducted and formulated by the NCEES. The NCEES PE exam has detailed criteria that need to be fulfilled for the candidate to partake in the exams and not get disqualified. The PE exam is for assessing the minimum level of competency in a particular discipline of engineering.

The PE (Professional Engineering) exam is quite stressful as it has significant importance for candidates. Most candidates panic or are so stressed from the preparation that they miss the regulations provided by the NCEES. Along with the rules and what to expect on the PE exam day, candidates can find some tips on managing everything.

The strict NCEES regulations stress out candidates. This is one of the reasons that candidates fail to perform as well as they did during their preparation. In this article, all the policies and regulations are discussed. The exam format, structure, and duration are also discussed. Tips on how to prepare for the exam the day and the day before are also present in it.  The NCEES has criteria for everything; all the solutions and tips are made with that in mind.

Things you should expect on PE Exam Day

NCEES rules and regulations for PE (Professional Engineering) exams may give stress to candidates. A proper game plan is needed to reduce stress and increase performance. As preparations for the PE exam are done for months, it is best to be well versed in the policies to be followed. They are discussed with tips for their management.

Things to do the day before the PE Exam Day

Rest, there is no need to scram for more knowledge. You will not retain it and will most likely hinder your hard work. Make sure you eat correctly and hydrate yourself. Do not use coffee or energy drinks that day. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep. The exam is at 8 am; set the alarm for a time that gives you at least 30 minutes of wiggle room so that you have time to reach the venue still early.

Revise the main concepts you have already learned for one final go. Prepare the items that you need to take with you on the NCEES PE exam day. Having a well-organized list will help ensure that you do not forget any essential items required on the PE exam day.

Quick Checklist

Here is a list to help you out on the PE exam day

  1. The exam authorization notice
  2. National ID card
  3. Civil engineering reference manual
  4. Reference books and notes that are bound.
  5. Dictionary
  6. Earplugs
  7. An NCEES approved calculator
  8. A stopwatch
  9. Water bottle
  10. Snacks that do not require refrigeration and will not perish quickly.

After you have checked all the items on the checklist, put them in your transparent clear bag. Set up your clothes, dress with layers on the PE exam day; this will help in the examination hall. Recheck your alarm set-up and have a good sleep. Make sure that you have checked all the items on the PE exam day checklist.

What to do on the day of the PE Exam?

Remember how you set the alarm with 30 minutes of wiggle time? Well, this is where it comes to play. Have a nice light yet fulfilling breakfast. If you want to have that coffee, now is the time but don’t take too much. Have your breakfast, and once again, go through the checklist.

Once all the items are ready and so are you, head out for the venue. Rules for NCEES PE exam day are pretty rigid; make sure you reach well before time. Now that you are there early, relax and go over your notes. After a glance, relax and wait. You might be hearing a lot of things right now, good that you have earplugs, so use them.

When the entry into the examination hall begins, get your documents ready; once you are cleared, you will be seated.

How to Cope with the Examination Environment?

The PE exam day requires you to sit in a chair for a very long time. This chair may become uncomfortable, so it is a good idea to take a seat cushion with you. As you dress in layers, you can control the temperature for yourself. If it is too hot, take off layers until it’s good enough; similarly, put on the layers if it is too cold.

If a seat is broken, you can call for help and get it changed. The earplugs will help block the noise out, so you can focus on the task at hand. A small bookcase may come in handy, and it will tidy up the space for you to go to work. The exam is in pencil and paper format, so a clean desk is vital for efficient work. The data are extensive; make sure to recheck data to prevent errors in calculation.

What is the Structure and Duration of the NCEES PE Exam?

The NCEES PE exam consists of two four-hour sessions, and the first session occurs in the morning while the second occurs in the afternoon. The first is called the Breadth session, and you will have forty questions to answer in four hours. After the first session is done, a lunch break will be given for one hour.

After the lunch break, the second session will commence. The second is called the Depth session. It will have the same number of questions as the first session—the questions in the depth session deal with concepts and problems which require more detail.

The PE exam is an open book; the candidate can bring reference materials in bound form. The PE exam format is multiple choice questions based. Each question will be given four possible correct answers, out of which only one is the actual correct answer. There is no guarantee if one subject is repeated in the exam.  The questions are challenging but not misleading.

The data are extensive, so most candidates fail, as errors with large data are common. Each question is unrelated to the next, so if one data is miscalculated, the next one does not get affected. The year 2021 is the last time the PE exam will be offered in pencil and paper form. From 2022 the exam will shift to computer-based testing.

Policy Guideline for the PE Exam

As the nature of the PE exam is an open book, reference materials are allowed as long as they are inbound form and stay bound. Candidates do not need to bring their stationery. The identification card and other vital documents are essential for entry. Candidates will not be allowed to partake in the PE exam if they arrive late. Any form of negligence or deviation from the policies and criteria set by NCEES will result in the candidate’s immediate disqualification.

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Wasim Asghar

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Wasim Asghar
Joined: May 18th, 2016
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